Vintage Sled-Mobile: 1963 Ski-Doo R6

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The Ski-Doo is a brand name of snowmobile manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products in Canada. The first Ski-Doo (called Ski-Dog initially) was produced in 1959 and the assembly line is still running today. This 1963 R6 model was restored several years ago and has been used minimally since then, so its condition is still excellent. Located in Brentwood, New Hampshire, this recreational vehicle is waiting for the snow season to begin again. It’s available here on Facebook Marketplace for $4,250.

Considered a Canadian invention, a typo in the Bombardier sales brochure gave the machine the name of Ski-Doo, which would stick for more than 62 years – and counting. They were popular at first with missionaries, trappers, prospectors, land surveyors, and others who needed to travel in snowy, remote regions. It later gained a following with sports enthusiasts, which enabled production to take off. The little machine is responsible for coining the term “skidooing” which has become part of the culture in the snowy regions of Canada.

I admittedly know little about these things other than they look like an opportunity to break a leg. But the friend who listed this vehicle for sale knows more and has inspected it in person. The R6’s owner gave it a thorough going-over some time back, so the yellow paint and mechanical condition are both said to be good.

The R6 is a model of the Ski-Doo that takes back to at least 1963 when this one was built. That was the first year they would use a fiberglass hood and a Rotax motor which runs on gasoline. The engine displaces 148cc and starts right up with a recoil starter that has a unique recoil handle which was a one-year wonder. This Ski-Doo looks like it could be a lot of fun and at $4,250 is about half of what you might spend on one built today.

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972Member

    Cute and nicely restored. This is the Model T Ford of snowmobiles; a primitive design with all of 6hp at your disposal. It will get you where you want to go, but make sure you have plenty of time. It’s a museum piece or something to show to your snowmobiling buddies; other than that, I can’t see the desire to pay over $4k for it. I haven’t ridden sled in a long time but I do miss my ’81 Polaris Centurion.

    Like 3
  2. Rbig18

    Half of what one costs today? I paid about 16k for mine last year. These were neat machines. I restored a couple just slightly newer. Amazing the following for antique sleds.

    Like 3
  3. geomechs geomechsMember

    This is quite the machine to be thinking about while the temperature outside is hitting Three Digits. It’s hotter than a 2-dollar pistol outside and the weatherman says no change until the weekend, and then it isn’t going to be much. Anyway I saw a lot of different makes of snowmobiles back in the 60s. It was interesting to see them drop like flies while a few soldiered on. I think Ski-Doo really set the bar for snowmobiles. If you were ever to compare your power toboggan with something it was most likely a Ski-Doo. Bombardier has done quite well over the years…

    Like 4
    • DAVE G

      ..I feel your pain on the superheat Geo, am down the coast in SF Bay Area so we too have experienced such ‘Heat Dome’ phenomenon from time-to-time, more often than I’ve seen in my long history here. -But not like the record-breaker now leaving the Pacific NW! Welcome to the precursors to our serious climate tweaks..

      This sled lends fond memories of a used Kiekhaefer (sp?) Mercury 250ER sled I used to play around with in the 70s – with electric-start Reverse even (where the 2-stroke was started up in the opposite direction of fwd rotation!).

      For its quality level, this Ski-Dog is definitely worth the ask imo..

      Like 1
  4. Raymond

    Yeah, I can’t wait to hear off into the wilderness powered by Briggs and Stratton rope start engineering, top speed 12mph, sounds like a perfect bear feeder, bet I can walk faster and I have emphysema, hard to imagine these were made in Canada….

    Like 2
    • Gary

      12 MPH is fast enough for the average soused sledder.

      Like 11
    • MotorWinder

      Really Raymond? clearly you’ve never tried to run in 2 feet of snow, and with emphysema you’d be gasping for a breath in the cool fresh winter air up to your knees in snow.
      Clearly someone who has NO idea of Canada and it’s technological contributions.

      Like 12
  5. HoA Howard AMember

    Oy gevalt, how much? While I looked to this post to get my mind off that $30,000 YJ, not much help. Can someone answer me truthfully, what, do all you people make a million dollars a day, for cripes sakes. Sigh, okay, it’s a nice restoration, and for people that don’t know, this sled actually turned a corner towards modern sleds. Previous snowmobiles were basically motorized toboggans with skis, this is when snowmobilers got serious. Not snow melting, ski lifting 100hp monsters,( with GPS),, simple fun for a family, for a couple hundred bucks INCLUDING a trailer, that every car could pull, it was cheap fun. Clubs sprang up, snowmobiles were a dime a dozen, I believe at it’s peak, there were over 220 makers of snowmobiles, it was huge, and I was part of it. My 1st sled was a ’69 Polaris Charger, and very similar to this. It was a poor sled, broke down more than it ran, but it got me started on one of my all time favorite things to do. Fact is, I’m planning on returning to the UP of Mich., partially because of snowmobiling. What, you say? I live in the Rocky Mtns., the seemingly king of now? Well, yes and no. It rarely snows where I am, and snowmobile rentals in the mountains costs $50/hr, sleds are governed to 20 mph( BOOO) and all sleds come with “avalanche poles”,,,um,,,no,,,thanks.
    Snowmobiling has gotten so out of hand today, these things are engineering marvels, with more power than my Jeep, go 100mph, and cost tens of thousands. It’s pretty foolish, as many counties today have radar with speed limits strictly enforced, conduct sobriety tests, and is treated like drunk driving. It really has changed the sport from it’s humble, family beginnings, and most started out with sleds like this. Cool find as I compose myself for the Jeep post,,

    Like 5
  6. On and On On and OnMember

    These machines got us all involved in a big way in northern Wisconsin……it was simple to operate but needed some knowledge of machinery. Our first opportunity to get back into the lakes and woods in the winter and enjoy the beauty and look for animal tracks. Ask Howard if you would smell like 50-1 from the spray from that carburetor and have a sore arm while sipping beer later. Fun, you bet, but a workout too……..we loved it.

    Like 5
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Hi Gregg, these posts always hit a nerve with us. And for the record, the old ones were more like 20:1, and remember how these screwed up peoples TV’s? I think new, these had some sort of air box, like outboards, an air cleaner wasn’t needed in the snow. Belt shavings were the biggest menace. Most took the air box off, or it fell off. I did drink back then, but the sore arm you mention was more from trying to get the dang thing going again. Waste a whole evening of drinking pulling the starter. You never left without several new plugs. Back then, every tavern had a gas barrel, and oil, we didn’t do that to get wasted, the tavern was a social place and a welcome sight if one was lost, cold and low on fuel. Some places had the BEST meals,,,ALL GONE! Fact is, DNR came in many years ago, deemed all those gas barrels a danger, the bar owners couldn’t make it, left the business and except along roads, gas is hard to come by. I’m just about done with the “Colorado Experience”, and am already looking at places in the Keweenaw Peninsula,,so maybe we’ll meet after all.

      Like 5
      • On and On On and OnMember

        Wow, Keeweenaw! You’ll need a sled there Howard, weather is not for the weak, a peninsula sticking out into the Big Lake, but I’ll bet they have some great fish frys going on. Good for you………and yes, I just looked up the repair manual for the old Ski-doo and they did have a a small cover over that carb throat. I’ll bet folks left them in the snow after spraying ether for an easier start………

        Like 1
      • TCOPPS TCOPPSMember

        I love the UP Howard. Born & Raised. Trying to get back myself, but trying to keep the UP sacred way of life a secret as well.

        Like 1
      • HoA Howard AMember

        I hear ya’, I try to keep the UP to myself, but it’s a BIG area, and people are still leaving in droves,,,to come here. Why, just yesterday on my bike ride, I spied a Wis. plate and a young man getting out with his toddler. I said,”Hi, where you from”? “Marshfield”, he said, just moved here, so I’m not too worried. Unlike N.Wis. and the UP, there are plenty of jobs here, some paying TWENTY + BUCKS /hr. so the migration will continue for years to come. Besides, as far as most people are concerned, the UP of Mich may as well be the North Pole, which is silly, but for me, therein lies the attraction.

        Like 1
      • TCOPPS TCOPPSMember

        That’s very true. I moved away to make some money. Feel free to change my mind, but there’s only a couple ways to make a reasonable living UP there…& they only include working for yourself.

        Like 1
  7. Vance

    4,250 loonies is a lot of money eh, a two four of Molson is fifty, ana pock of smokes is nearly 20. Sin taxes are high in The Great White North, and I think this guy has been in the beer a little to ask for that. All kidding aside, I live in Michigan, neighbors to our Canadian friends, and this machine would be useless, use the 4k as a down payment on a real snowmachine. And for those of you that never have been on one, put it on your bucket list, there is nothing like it.

    Like 2
  8. Ed Casala

    Make a great movie prop!

    Like 1
  9. Karl

    I grew up with snowmobiles my whole life and this is the great great grandfather to what we have today! I have a tremendous amount of respect for sleds like this, slow, not very nimble, no reverse but very reliable for its place in time! Today it seems if your new sled doesn’t cost 15k or more and has a track that is 25 ft long and goes 120 mph your laughed at! In today’s world I want no part of any of it anymore it’s for people who think a lot different than I do!

    Like 3
  10. Howie Mueler

    Very nice, is it missing a air filter or air cleaner?

    Like 2
    • On and On On and OnMember

      No. It is original. Did make it easy for a shot of starting fluid.

      Like 2
  11. Karl

    These sleds didn’t even have an air box of any sort till 67 or 68, you could always tell the folks who rode these by how filthy the front of their jackets and the big gas oil stain which happened when the engine would back fire through the carb

    Like 2
  12. Mike

    When I was a kid (60 years ago) my dad hat 2 of the early 7 hp Rita’s engines and we used to go on trip with a bunch of local guys and when the going got tough the SkiDoo’s went first because we had to go back and pull the high hp units through as they always got stuck. One time it was out with my dad and we came to a hill. He didn’t think we could make it up so l went first and made it. I hollered for his but he couldn’t he me so I stepped off the back end into my track and went right down to my shoulders. That was how deep the snow was. They were not fast but they went anywhere you wanted.

    Like 2
  13. Paul JacksonMember

    And of course the carb would suck your clothes and stall!
    My first sled was a 65 skidoo 10 hp. Even then I could and did go places others could only dream of. Of course there were no trails or warming huts then

    Like 2
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Long scarves were NOT recommended,,

      Like 0
  14. Gerard Frederick

    Wasn´t there a sled manufacturer which used 400cc ILO 2-strokeTwins?

    Like 1
  15. geirge mattar

    Howard A makes more sense here than anyone else. This model Ski Too was absolutely the precursor to the modern sleds of the early 70s. Personally, I am an Arctic Cat fan because a good friends dad in high school 69 to 74 was a Cat dealer. I bought a new 72 Cat with a 340 cc Kawasaki engine. Unlike today, all sled makers, about 100 of them in 1970, used engines made by outside vendors. Rotax is made in Austria. For those that don’t know, certain Ski Doo, Arctic Cat and Polaris models sell for up to $40,000 today if perfect originals or restored. Personally, I sold my 1972 Arctic EXT racer with a 440 cc Kawasaki triple for more than $9,000 six years ago. It was an animal but not trail friendly with its free air engine design. New sleds, like stupid new cars and SUVs, all look the same and cost $15,000 and up and are so complicated they break down all the time. Junk.

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Thanks geirge( wasn’t it George?) but plenty of sharpies here. In fact, geomechs, for one, has forgotten more than I know. I’m the last one to admit, but times changed radically, across the board. Things we held dear no longer can apply, for a dozen reasons. Boating, motorcycling, snowmobiles, all these fun, AFFORDABLE things then, were what you worked for and just about everyone could participate. Not sure where we made that left turn, I suppose we can blame the manufacturers, creating these “snow melters”, which made the trails dangerous, which in turn caused the gubment to enact laws for “our” safety, and this is what happens. Trail groomers, once a staple of the north, now costing in excess of $250 grand ( albeit, they are nice units) and with lack of govt. funding it’s all on club members, which are dwindling anyway. Just be glad, we had the times of our lives, for $200 BUCKS!

      Like 0
  16. Karl

    Aahh the mighty JLO, you are correct I do remember a sled that ran a JLO they were a great engine but I don’t remember what sled ran it for some reason Massey Ferguson comes to mind but it might have also been Scorpion? I am somewhat sure about the Massey because my brother had one. I remember it not being a very good sled lots of suspension issues, rather poor design. Off the subject but when I was a kid we had a hovercraft that had a 2 stroke 2 cylinder opposed engine I think it was over 50 HP and ran great but the hovercraft wasn’t to good!

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Hi Karl, the early MF “Ski Whiz” ( snicker) did use JLO’s and were actually pretty nice sleds. Something about the 1st inner track sprocket/lug drive. I had a Scorpion Super Stinger 400 JLO, that was the worst sled made. It wouldn’t go in a straight line ( crappy Para-Rail suspension) and never ran right unless the choke was pulled, and to my horror, it, I believe, was the motor of choice for ULTRALIGHT’S!!! Good grief, I wouldn’t trust my life to a JLO motor,,,

      Like 0
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Correction, my Scorpion had a CCW motor, not JLO. It was still a POS.

      Like 0
  17. Gerard Frederick

    Thanks for the input. ILO was located in Pinneberg, outside Hamburg and built 2-stroke proprietary engines which were absolutely bullet proof. Their 250cc 2-stroke twin was an engine used all over Europe by a great variety of motorcycle producers. When the german motorcycle industry was practically outlawed due to 2-strokes being o so dirty, ILO went bye bye, which really was a crime – but I guess that´s life. I´ve never heard of an opposed cylinder engine by them, but they built a one liter 4 cylinder in-line 2 stroke which was used by fire departments all over the place as a pump engine.

    Like 1
  18. HoA Howard AMember

    Everybody who commented gets a thumbs up. Snowmobilers are all cut out of the same piece of tarp. People from the south clearly think us northerners have lost their minds. Riding an open machine in sub zero weather at great speeds, got to have 2 wires touching, but that’s where they are wrong. Snowmobiling is like a never ending amusement park ride, scenery most never see, most fun you can have with your clothes on, and you have to do something for 11 months out of the year. My speed demon days are over, my Yam SRX gave me enough thrills, the fastest I ever went on the snow, was that Polaris 3 cylinder. Heavy, poor handling, but boy howdy, things going by pretty fast at 100 mph on the snow. Today, I’m looking for a big motor, FAN COOLED, reverse,,oh, and a real cushy seat and a slow ride into the Porky’s with a red sunset over Lake Superior,,,yeah,,,great place to run the clock out,,,Colorado, not so much.

    Like 3
  19. Karl

    Howard A thanks for the help on the MF ski wiz and the Scorpions I wasn’t a 100 percent on this comment and I did completely forget about the ultra lights but remember those things glide usually better than they fly!

    Like 1
  20. Gerard Frederick

    Something was very wrong with the snow mobile you are discussing – and it wasn´t the ILO engine. Ilo was a time honored manufacturer of bullet proof 2-strokes which powered countless fire engine pumps, stationary construction machinery and motorcycles. ILO was a pioneer in 2-stroke technology and NEVER produced a bad engine – that was like a law of nature. It was ILO, DKW and Adler 2-stroke engine technologies which formed the basis for the largest part of the Russian, Japanese and Chinese motorcycle industries.

    Like 0

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